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Chasing the Moon | Digital Short

The Desegregation of Huntsville

When NASA arrived in Huntsville, Alabama in 1960, it brought new financial opportunities to the city. But for African Americans, the space boom only heightened the disparities of segregation.

Enter John and Joan Cashin in January of 1962. With a small group of like-minded black professionals, they formed the Community Service Committee, which led a mass movement of sit-ins, poster walks and boycotts. The CSC saw the Rocket City's dependence on federal money was a vulnerability they could exploit to integrate the city.

John Cashin called it psychological warfare—and by July of 1962 the CSC's creative tactics paid off. With little of the violence that had met civil rights demonstrations across the state, Huntsville was the first city in Alabama to begin desegregation.


Ben Greenberg
Eric P. Gulliver

Eric P. Gulliver

Diane McWhorter

Stephanie Garnier

APM Music
Eric P. Gulliver

Archival Stills
Alabama Department of Archives and History
The Cashin Family
The Hereford Family
Library of Congress
Minority Business Development Agency
Penn State Rabin Collection
Police Motor Units LLC
Wisconsin Historical Society, WHS-72653
Huntsville Madison County Public Library

Archival Footage
The Hereford Family
Pond 5

Special Thanks
Roy Clem (APTV)
Sonnie Hereford IV
Rocket City Civil Rights
Keith Ward

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